From the Field: In-Market Representative Reports – April 2023

April 2023 monthly update from our global network of In-Market Representatives about what's going on in markets around the world.

Food Export – Midwest and Food Export – Northeast have developed a network of 19 uniquely experienced In-Market Representatives around the globe. These local marketing experts in the food industry provide Food Export with on-the-ground assistance to implement our various programs and services.

In addition, through regular trade servicing, these local representatives report on local issues, trends, and opportunities for international buyers to connect with suppliers of U.S. agricultural and food products. Every month we share with you some of the top market insight from the trade servicing reports we receive in order to improve your international export efforts.


Canada’s liquor excise taxes occur on April 1st each year and follows the rate of inflation. For 2023, the excise tax on alcohol was set to increase by 6.3%. This would have been the largest tax hike in over 40 years. There has been a major outcry by distillers and microbrewers who are already suffering from inflation affecting their businesses. Just before April 1st, the federal government set a temporary cap at 2% and will stay in effect for this year.


Walmart is set to invest $1.5 billion in Mexico and Central America in 2023. Walmart’s unit in Mexico and Central America, known as Walmex, plans to boost spending in the region by 27% from last year. Walmex representatives shared that close to half of the investment is projected to go to remodeling and maintenance on existing stores, while nearly a third of the investment will be used for new stores and clubs. The goal is to “expand and modernize the company’s supply chain,” Walmex said. This investment will benefit Central America markets and offer a profitable venue for U.S. exports since Walmart is the largest retail chain in the region.


Colombia is facing a shortage of milk and dairy products. This year milk and dairy products experienced a price increase of 37% compared to last year due to low production, the impact of above-average rainfalls, and the high cost of fertilizers and cattle feed concentrate. Combined, these elements resulted in a decrease in milk consumption in many regions of the country. According to the National Administrative Department of Statistics in Colombia (DANE), milk sales fell 9.4% in November and 8.3% in December of 2022. A slow recovery is expected throughout the rest of the year.


There is a growing demand for local vegetables in Hong Kong. Jonathan Wong, head of the biology department at Baptist University, explains that the demand for local vegetables has been on the rise. Retailers have noted how consumers are willing to pay premium prices for organic products. However, supply has not gone up. Currently, Hing Kong has 129 certified organic farms compared to 146 in 2016. The total agricultural farmland in Hong Kong expands 4.500 hectares, but only 760 hectares are actively being used.  According to Wong, using 500 more hectares for farming would boost the region’s self-sufficiency rate. But until then, Hong Kong will continue to rely heavily on imports.


Indonesia’s soybean meal consumption is expected to increase by about 3% to 5.8mt in 2023 and 2024. This is due to the improved performance of the feed industry, which is driven by the recovery in poultry meat consumption and lower soybean meal prices.  Accordint to the USDA, the poultry sector, which utilizes at least 80% of the animal feed produced, is the largest consumer of soybean meal.